Relationships

Solo at 60

It's hard for my grown kids to accept that their almost senior mother is alone—without a man

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When our children are young and busy under our feet, it seems impossible to believe a day will come when they'll view the world as a place that doesn't revolve only around them. If you happen to be a 60-year-old single mom of two young men in their thirties, you may find yourself in an ironic twist of fate: role reversal.

My husband died in 2009. Since then, I've been in one relationship which ended quite abruptly after 5 years. Now on my own, I'm open to dating; I just don't meet that many people and online dating is not for me. I tried it and although I fully understand what a wonderful tool it can be for making a love connection that may well never have been made otherwise, I found it awkward and insincere. Maybe it's my age. Maybe I'm a skeptic.

Maybe I'm just an old-fashioned romantic.

I want the real interaction, that crazy cauldron of emotions blending together perfectly, marinating over time allowing the flavors to become the perfect concoction of physical attraction, intellectual stimulation, wit, and yes, romance. I cannot "feel" that via the internet. There's a great deal to be said in favor of the actual pursuit of one's desire when it comes to courtship.

I remember my mother telling me she thought the dating practices of my generation—specifically of my "beaus"—was much too forward and lacked greatly of forethought, respect and attention to detail.

"In my day, a boy would never think to beckon me forth by honking his car horn!" she said. "He would come in for proper introductions and parental approval to escort me out for the evening."

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I'm sure my views seem archaic to the youth of today, just as my mother's did to me, but I'm not today's youth—I'm today's solo almost-senior and to be honest, I'm kind of lost.

And so it has come to be that my children are parenting me. They worry that I spend too much time alone. I probably do but I've come to enjoy my own company and choose wisely when deciding who to spend it with. They worry that I have no one to share holidays with when I'm not with them. They tell me I'm vibrant and beautiful and they're certain someone worthy of their mother's attention is out there. Mostly they worry that their mom is unloved, in the romantic sense of the word.

"You shouldn't go out to dinner by yourself, Mom," my sons insist. "You need a nice guy to talk to and keep you company, you know, go to movies with, have a drink with and you love to dance, Mom—you need someone to dance with!"

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Little do they know I'm often out with my girlfriends up on the dance floor all alone unabashedly dancing like everyone is watching.

"I'm fine, guys—honestly," I say in my most soothing motherly voice.

They nod but cannot hide the doubtful glances they exchange so subtly only a mother's eye would notice. It's hard for them to accept a mother alone, without a man. But times have changed. There isn't the stigma attached to solo women there once was. Still, it's not about that for them. They want their mom to be loved, cherished and cared for, and I love them for that.

I assure them if there's someone out there I'm supposed to meet, I'll find him or he me. I don't know how, when or where but I venture out into the world enough that I will be in the right place at the right time when the moment arrives.

And that moment will be born instantaneously when his eyes meet mine: I'll just know. It's how it's always been for me. A dance commences: a choreography of slow and methodical sways evolving into sensual spins and sometimes an abrupt, well-timed pause, giving adrenalin its proper veneration. I don't think there's anything sexier than feeling a man's strong hand on the small of my back, pulling me to him with confidence and authority and my unspoken surrender to his lead: I am his. Ballroom or bedroom, it's all a dance, isn't it?

The final deal is sealed with a kiss. In that kiss, one knows if it's meant to be. It's the extraordinary crescendo that's been building, moving our dance steps from a gentle sway to a passion-filled waltz, and it's magical and insatiable and head-spinningly delightful. It's what I want and I won't settle for less.

   
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